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Heath Harrison

Heath Harrison

Posted: October 27, 2010 05:52 AM

Morris Super PAC Targets Rahall

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As the final week of the campaign begins, the New York Times reports that FOX News commentator Dick Morris has targeted W.Va. Democratic Congressman Nick Rahall in an ad buy.

The anti-Rahall spot, in the form of a "voter guide," is part of a $1.5 million effort by the newly-formed Super PAC for America. Morris has raised $3 million for the group since its founding just three weeks ago.

Morris tells potential contributors to the group that "there is no limit to the amount you can donate," hoping to take advantage of the recent Citizens United ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, which allows unlimited contributions from corporations.

At the same time, the West Virginia Conservative Foundation, a group that raised controversy for an ad, titled "Rahall, Obama and Arab Americans," targeting Rahall's Lebanese ancestry, has released a new spot criticizing Rahall for not following the wishes of Tea Party protesters.

The West Virginia Conservative Foundation was founded by W.Va. GOP chair Mike Stuart, though he has moved to distance himself from the group and claims he resigned following his election as state party head. The group has spent $567,645 in the campaign on anti-Rahall ads.

Rahall faces Republican Elliott "Spike"Maynard, a former Democrat who lost his bid for reelection to the state's Supreme Court in 2008. Maynard was defeated after the release of photos which showed him vacationing on the French Riviera with Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. Blankenship's company was appealing a case in Maynard's court at the time.

The West Virginia Democratic Party issued an e-mail Tuesday, alluding to Blankenship's possible involvement in the attack ads against Rahall, pointing out that the Massey CEO has also given the maximum contribution to GOP candidates and the West Virginia Republican Party.

"For all we know, Blankenship may be behind many of these bogus campaign groups too, like the West Virginia Conservative Foundation or the countless groups running ads in the Senate race for John Raese. These groups are spending millions running ads and most don't disclose their donors," said WV Democratic Party Executive Director Derek Scarbro. "Unless they disclose their donors, we can only assume that Blankenship or Raese are funding them secretly. This would not be Blankenship or Raese's first attempt to buy a West Virginia election."

Rahall has also raised the issue of Blankenship's involvement and has said he believes the WVCF ads are coordinated with the Maynard campaign's spots focusing on the Arab angle.

Rahall brought up the campaign spots in his second and final debate with Maynard on Tuesday, calling the ads "disappointing, disingenuous, disgusting, disturbing, despicable, and you know what... downright desperate."